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01:30, 27 June 2017 Tuesday
Update: 11:16, 08 October 2012 Monday

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Israel shells besieged Gaza as Palestinians retaliate
Israel shells besieged Gaza as Palestinians retaliate
Gaza - (AA)

An Israeli air strike wounded 10 Palestinians including children.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israeli forces fired a barrage of artillery shells on the southern Gaza Strip early Monday injuring five Palestinians, witnesses said, as Gaza brigades fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel.

More than ten Israeli artillery shells landed near Ammar Ibn Yasser Mosque east of Khan Younis, causing damage to the minaret and a water tower, they said.

Later Monday morning, residents said a missile was fired at Rafah by an Israeli military aircraft, with no reports of casualties.

Meanwhile, an ministry of education official Ahmad Najjar said that five schools in the southern Gaza Strip were evacuated for safety reasons.

Retaliatory rockets

The armed wings of Gaza's ruling Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad group announced Monday they had fired a series of rockets at Israel, a day after an Israeli air strike that injured 10 people.

The rocket fire came after an Israeli air strike on the southern Gaza city of Rafah Sunday evening.

They says were targeting Israeli military bases in Kerem Shalom, Kissufim, Sufa and Al-Ayn in response to an airstrike on Sunday.

"In response to the injury of civilians in the most recent strike on Rafah, the Qassam Brigades and the Al-Quds Brigades fired a number of rockets at enemy military positions," Hamas's Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing said.

"This blessed operation came in response to continuous and repeated enemy crimes against our defenceless people."

Israeli strike targeted two Palestinian men who were critically wounded in the attack, which also injured eight others, including children.



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.